At the beginning of each year, half of Americans resolve to make big changes in the New Year. By the end of the first month, forty percent have given up. I cover all of the reasons for this in my book, Resolution Reboot. Of them, one of the biggest obstacles is that we focus too much on the results and not enough on the compounding habits that will get us there.
The idea of finally losing twenty pounds and paying off our student loans is exciting. It’s fun to envision how we’ll look and what it will feel like. The daily habits to get there, however, are not so fun and usually kind of boring.
Let me give you a few examples.
Trying out that new Thai restaurant for lunch equals fun. ⇒ Eating the lunch you packed to help you hit your goal weight is boring.
Going to happy hour with the gang after work equals a good time. ⇒ Heading to the gym to get in shape is anything but.
Spending your Saturday binging on Netflix is entertaining. ⇒ Spending the day working on your side hustle to create more freedom in your life is challenging.
It’s easy to choose the fun and exciting option in the moment. The massive results we’re hoping for seem so far off and often unattainable. Still, some people manage to achieve and maintain these big goals. But how?
They understand the secret of compounding habits!
I’m sure you’re familiar with the idea of compound interest. You deposit money in an account and get a small percentage of interest added to your account each month. The next month, you’re paid on your initial investment plus the interest. That continues for the next month, and the next, and the next …
If I gave you $10,000 on the day you were born and you put that in a mutual fund, averaging an eight percent rate of return, you would have close to $2 million by age 65.
Habits work the same way. If you decide that this was the year you’ll get in shape, you might start with a ten-minute walk. Within a month, you could be walking a mile. And in less than a year, you’ll be running 5ks.
Here’s how some of my small daily habits compounded over the course of a year.
- Short daily meditations added up to 63 hours in one calendar year.
- An average of five bike rides a week added up to 5,589 miles last year.
- A love of hiking combined with running when I couldn’t bike added up to 412 miles on my feet.
- Biweekly transfers to a savings account equaled 35 percent of our take-home pay saved for our next big goal.
- A weekly commitment to put myself out there strengthened my friendships, both new and old.
- Choosing to read instead of browsing the internet or watching TV helped me read 20 books last year.
- Sitting down to write consistently equaled one book, 53 blog posts, and more than 55 emails and newsletters last year.
These tiny little things, practiced daily, added up to massive results!
Now, how about you? What do you want to accomplish most this year? What are the daily habits that will help you get there? How can you make these habits routine?
You can learn more about creating habits in this post. If you’d prefer, I offer one on one coaching with all of the support, guidance, and accountability to finally get what you want. Whatever you choose, I want you to know that you are capable and deserving of these massive results.